What does it mean to leave a legacy? What does it mean to be a father or mother who lives their life on purpose? I asked my friend Sarah Burke these questions after seeing this picture of her crying on her fathers shoulder a year before he died of brain cancer. Here’s what she had to say about what made her father great:
He was a great listener. As far back as I can remember, he allowed me to vent or explain a situation fully before he said anything. He never jumped in and tried to “fix it” right away. He was comfortable with tears, he was verbally encouraging and affirming – from sports, to academics, to spirituality. He always made me feel like I was capable and never like I was crazy. So, I think the summary of all of that is this: he was my safe place. He was gentle and strong. For all the ups and downs of life, he was a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board for advice and my steady champion. He was also SO funny and we laughed a lot as a family.
What kind of legacy did your father leave?
My dad was a quiet servant; he served our family tirelessly. He also cared well for others, without asking or wanting to be noticed. He read the Bible daily – really ingested the Word – and then went and lived his life DOING what the Bible said. His legacy is one of faithful obedience in the big and small things. He didn’t need his name on a building and he never chased “greatness” as the world defines it. But he is a man missed by many because he was committed to the things of God. There was a confident, humble wisdom in him that we deeply miss.
Leaving a legacy is living in the truest sense.
And this isn’t easy, but we know that through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier (Andrew Peach).”
God, make us faithful in this calling.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.